It’s the same year after year. The kids (and every school teacher in the land) can’t wait for the summer holidays to start, whereas you’re dreading it. Here come another six weeks of “what am going to do with the children this summer holiday?” You’re already feeling the stress build up before the holidays have even started. But we’ve got your back. We have come up with ten tips that will take at least some of the stress out of your summer holidays this year.
1. Get organised
Getting organised is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce your stress. Whether you prefer an online tool or a sheet of paper, simply planning what you are going to do when can work wonders for your sanity. Make sure you don’t plan every minute of every day, though. Leave some time for spontaneity, the weather and any unforeseen occurrences. Make your plan a guide, rather than something that has to be adhered to at all cost.
What goes in the planner? Outings, play dates, travel dates if you’re going away, me-time for yourself, etc. Get input from your children, this way they feel involved as well.
2. Play dates
As already mentioned above, organise play dates with your children’s friends. This gives the other parent a break and they will be happy to reciprocate so that you get a day off as well. This is invaluable to keep your sanity.
If you have more than one child, you can also use the time when one is away to get some quality one-on-one time with the other.
3. Use online shopping
Most supermarkets offer online shopping these days. Use this service to get the bulk of your shopping done. You can then make little shopping trips into a bit of an outing; maybe even use local shops.
4. Go outside whenever you can
Try and go outside whenever possible. If it’s hot and sunny you may want to avoid the hours between 11am and 3pm to limit damaging sun exposure, but fresh air and lots of exercise is great for little ones. Take them to the park or a local duck pond or river, whatever is available near you.
5. Get your kids to relax
School can be really stressing for young ones so it’s important that they learn to relax at an early age. Check out children’s yoga classes or Cosmic Kids online. The summer holidays are a great time to learn new skills like these.
6. Lower your standards
Especially when it comes to how tidy your house needs to be. When children are at home all day, mess levels are going to go up; that’s almost unavoidable. You could, of course, build tidy-up or chores time into your schedule and get the children involved in getting the house back into shape. But again, when children tidy up it’ll be different to when you do it. Praise their efforts and you’ll keep getting help more easily.
7. Have a list of rainy day activities
As this is the UK after all, make sure you plan for any weather. Create a list of fun things to do indoors for when it’s wet during the summer holidays. This could be anything from making your own ice lollies, various arts and craft activities or even library trips.
8. Leave an hour early if you’re travelling
If you’re travelling further afield during the holidays and need to catch a plane, ferry or other timed mode of transport, it is a good idea to leave at least an hour earlier than you have to. This way, you have a built-in buffer for leaving 5 minutes later (kids always need something last minute) or unplanned breaks (of the loo or snack variety) on the way and even possible traffic hold ups. Should you arrive with time to spare at the airport it gives you time to check in/bag drop without stressing about long queues or have a relaxing coffee break while you wait.
9. Plan your holiday in the middle of the break
If at all possible, plan a holiday in the middle of the break rather than at the beginning or end. This way it breaks up the long period of time and you’re not faced with a seemingly endless stretch of summer holidays without anything to do. This way, it gives you 2-3 weeks to get ready before you go, and then another 2 or 3 weeks after the holiday where you can prepare for school to start again.
10. TV & Co are ok
It’s ok to let your children watch some TV or play on their devices some of the time. A few afternoons watching movies or their favourite TV shows is not going to do them any harm, as long as it’s not all they do. And playing games on their devices can be a nice down-time after an exciting day out. You don’t have to be chief entertainer for your children 100% of the time; give yourself a break. The children get to enjoy their devices for a bit and they get a more chilled out parent in the process. Win-win!
How the Live Well Therapy can help
So, you’ve planned some me-time, the children are doing their thing and you would like to wind down. How about using this time for a bit of meditation? I have a freebie for you to download that can help to calm your mind when you’re in “headless chicken” mode and you need to slow down – my 3 Minute Breathing Space.
There are 2 reasons to use the 3 Minute Breathing Space: it dissolves negative thought patterns before they gain control over your life – often before you’re even aware of them. Secondly, it’s an emergency meditation that allows you to see clearly what is arising from moment to moment when you feel under pressure. It allows you to pause when your thoughts threaten to spiral out of control, by helping you to regain a compassionate sense of perspective and to ground yourself in the present moment.
To download my 3 Minute Breathing Space for free, email me and I will send you the audio file.
If you would like to find out more ways to help you deal with everyday stresses or particularly stressful periods in your life, please get in touch. My name is Samantha Culshaw-Robinson and I am a clinical hypnotherapist. I have been helping people deal with stress since 2010. You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 075 222 777 22.